Manchester school budget money defended
The district has proposed a $160 million budget for the 2015 fiscal year, which is 2.13 percent larger than last year, the limit imposed by the tax cap. Taken together, the school and city budgets proposed by Mayor Ted Gatsas increase by $4 million, with $2.3 million going to the schools and $1.6 million going to the city. (Gatsas’ proposal, the one under review by the aldermen, subtracts $500,000 from the district’s preferred budget and shifts it to the city.)
Several aldermen, who have the authority to establish the budget for the school district, suggested on Tuesday that the budget was imbalanced at the expense of the city, which faces at least $6 million in unfunded costs in next year’s budget.
Ward 12 Alderman Keith Hirschmann claimed that the mayor was “generous” to the school district in his budget because he gave the school district more money than was allowed under the tax cap.
In Hirschmann’s view, the tax cap imposes a 2.13 percent limit on how much the city tax rate and the school district tax rate, which are separate, can rise. By his calculations, this would result in $1.9 million more for the city, and $1.8 million more for the schools.
“Yes,” she said. “Cuts of any kind would have an effect on the quality of education for the children of Manchester.”
She said the school district is effectively giving the money back to the city by including it as a revenue stream in next year’s budget. If the district spent the money instead, she reasoned, the district would have to come to the city next year to make up that difference.